Written by Lufuno Sathekge
This morning as I was unzipping my Oakley sweater, I noticed something. The Zipper. That little detail on our clothes that makes all the difference yet we take for granted.
Now I know you are thinking: “winning brands? Zippers?” Well I love clothes and fashion, and tend to take in a lot of the details on a garment.
I noticed the common thread on just about every good quality piece of clothing that I own, and that my family members own. I have memories of this brand from when I was a little girl (I have always loved clothes like that). My mom’s friend was a seamstress and she always had these zippers and other fasteners. The zipper always bore the letters YKK. I even thought all zippers were YKK, but I guess in a sense they are, seeing as they are responsible for 80% of the supply of zips to clothing manufacturers worldwide.
All my friends own this brand in more than five items of their clothing items at least. This brand has been winning for a whole century and it is not about to stop now. They have managed to dominate the market the world over, with a thing as simple as a zipper, that fastener that can make or break an outfit.
The YKK brand is a winning brand because everyone owns it, whether on a bag, wallet, jeans, Skirt or dress. We have all made a contribution to this brand’s billions for years and will continue to do so.
The Japanese company, based in Tokyo, manufactures over 7 billion zips per year, and not only are they all over your zipper, they are on your buttons, snaps, hooks, buckles and velcro fasteners.
The beauty in the YKK story is that, most of the money earned in the earlier years has contributed towards a property, architectural products and industrial machinery business.
The company has 109 companies in 71 countries, including Africa. Their Swaziland plant supplies fasteners and zips to the entire sub- Saharan region, including the Island.
Almost all South African retail brands make use of YKK zippers, pin studs; I went through my closet and all my clothes from Truworths, Edgars, Mr. Price, and Jenni Button have them. If this is not winning, I don’t know what is. I think I should look at buying shares, considering how many jeans and dresses with YKK zippers I own. I’ll be rich!
This just goes to show, that it’s not the brands with TV commercials and billboards that stay ahead of the game and rake in the profits, but brands that innovate and tap into the needs of the broader market beyond the direct product.
So next time you squeeze yourself into your favorite jeans, and you yank at the zipper and it doesn’t break, check out who made it, and will most likely be YKK!